As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. -- Isaiah 55:10-11

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Unlawful Grace

I understand law. I understand rules. I understand black and white.

What I don't understand is grace.

I have spent the last two months trying to come to grips with the law, my responsibility according to rules, and trying to live in the black and white. I have tried to squeeze myself into the boxes defined by the law and found myself dying there.

I am not saying the law is wrong. I am just confessing either my humanity is too strong or my faith is too weak. I am confessing that I have failed...and am failing. I can't do this.

I am left outside the law wondering what happens to people like me, people who simply aren't skilled enough or determined enough or able to lie well enough to fit into the "with Christ all things are possible" picture. What about us?

What about me?

The truth is I know God hates divorce. Me too. I know the vows I took...for better or for worse. I know my responsiblity to my children. I know the covenant I made. I job. And I believe if I do my job, it opens the door for God to redeem, restore, and heal. However, for reasons I will not discuss, I find it impossible to do my job. I have spent weeks trying to figure out to do my job better, how to make myself conform. I can't, though. I simply cannot perform to the standards of the law. If I do my job well, I open the door for blessings. If I don't do it well, then what?


"21But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. 27Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. 28For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law."--Romans 3
Grace--The divine favor toward man; the mercy of God, as distinguished from His justice; also, any benefits His mercy imparts; divine love or pardon; a state of acceptance with God; enjoyment of the divine favor. (,grace )

The state of acceptance with God.

Is it really possible to be a failure and be acceptable to God?

Honestly, that thought does not fit into my black and white world. Grace has always been what allowed God to overlook the failures on my way to getting it right once I was right, but what about along the road? What covers me while I'm on the way to getting it right or simply doing the best I can at the moment? What happens when I go crashing down the face of K2...again...and lie at the bottom battered and bleeding, ready to give up, knowing I don't have what it takes to reach the summit? What then?

Grace...not lawful grace, not the kind that is dependent on knowing I can or will get it right, but unlawful grace, the grace that steps outside the law, covering me with the blood of Christ, even when I keep getting it wrong.

It's that unlawful grace that says, "With Christ all things--despite my failure and humanness...despite his--are possible with Christ." It is that amazing unlawful grace that allows me to believe my children will be blessed, whole, and flourishing instead of being the lifelong wounded emotional wastelands people tell me they will be. It is the same grace that tells me God can still use me to make a difference in lives, can use my writing to impact the world. The same grace tells me even when we are not strong enough or capable enough to keep promised vows we can build a foundation of safety and security for our children.

Grace that all things are my my his...

Grace that even when I am not good enough all He is and all He can still more than enough.

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